SG-1 FIC: Finding Peace Title: Finding Peace Rating: G Pairings: Intended as a gen fic, but would probably be considered Jack/Sara by most Prompt: Sara O'Neill, after the Stargate program becomes public knowledge. Summary: The Stargate program becomes public knowledge and Sara O'Neill has some very specific questions. Author's Notes: Written for the latest Women of the Gate Ficathon sponsored by gate_women. Current title is tentative, as I couldn't think of a better one. I may change it if something better comes along.
The headline leapt out at her, causing Sara to stop in mid stride. Stargate. She stared at the word as memories flooded her mind. Heart wrenching memories of an ex-husband and the ghost of her dead son, both seeming to be like dust in the wind. "He's not Charlie," Jack had said with a sad little smile.
"God," she whispered as her emotions swelled to the brim. How she missed them. She walked over to the magazine stand, unable to look away as flashes of memory tormented her. Oh how she wanted to believe that Charlie was somehow miraculously alive, only to realize that it was an impossible feat, especially after seeing the look in Jack's eyes.
That's all the imposter talked about when he had visited. "I need to get back to the Stargate. Can't we do that?" He had been so earnest, so insistent. She couldn't help but start to believe him. Even after the real Jack walked out of her life again, she still harbored the belief that maybe, just maybe there was something the other Jack had been trying to tell her - something important.
She picked up the paper and read the full headline, adrenalin racing through her veins. "Stargate Program Sends Troops to the Stars."
"It all makes sense now," she muttered. Jack visited her a few days after the incident at the hospital and gave her the same explanation she had heard throughout her entire marriage. Top secret, hush, hush. She really hadn't expected much more than that, and didn't push him for more even after he hugged her one last time. She knew better than anyone that when Jack O'Neill had a secret, it stayed a secret for all eternity.
Sara looked up at the man behind the counter. He gave her a look that clearly said pay for it or leave it. She wiped away the tear that slipped down her cheek, and pulled her purse around so that she could dig for her wallet. It'd be worth every penny to finally find out the secret Jack kept from her, the one that brought Charlie back, if only for a moment.
"How much for these two papers and that magazine?" she asked the clerk, determined now to read as much as she could on the subject.
He shrugged, then said, "I can ring them up for you." She handed them over while the clerk scanned them into the register. "That Stargate program sounds like something out of one of those science fiction movies, doesn't it?" he asked, clearly wanting to talk. He shook his head, then said, "Hard to believe that people were traveling to other planets for years now and we're just now finding out about it."
"I know," Sara replied, although she really wasn't paying too much attention to what he was saying. Maybe she'd get to see Charlie again...
"Someone was telling me that there's even a remote station somewhere out there in another galaxy. They call it Atlantis, or something like that. Don't know what to believe any more."
"Yeah," Sara said. She could definitely relate to that statement. She paid for the papers and magazine then walked outside, her mind still abuzz with the news and the possibilities.
She called Jack the next day. The more she read about that program, the more questions came up. She wanted answers, and for once, she was going to push for them.
She had to go through three people at the Pentagon before she finally got too hear his voice. The first two she spoke to were hesitant to connect her, but the third person was more than willing to help in every way possible once she confirmed with the General that he really did want to talk to her. Sara shook her head when the woman came back on the line. Jack must have been fielding all kinds of calls since the news broke.
"Hey Jack," she said, grateful to hear his voice again. "How have you been?"
"Just peachy," he said in a more relaxed tone of voice. "And you? Are you doing okay>"
"Yeah. I'm fine. I just… I heard about the Stargate program, and we need to talk." She waited for a moment, hoping for a response, then pushed when she didn't get it. "Jack?"
"Please Jack. I need answers on this one. That day in the hospital... I know that wasn't Charlie, or you for that matter, but..." She stopped for a second, as this was hard for her. She rarely ever pushed him for answers, but there was no way she could leave it alone. "We need to talk."
"You're right," he said, while Sara closed her eyes in relief. "But not over the phone. Are you still in Colorado?"
"Yeah," she said with a sigh. "This has been my home for a long time. And besides, where would I go?"
"You could come to Washington," he said in a teasing suggestive tone. She smiled at that, missing him all over again. "I'm heading to Colorado Springs in a couple days," he went on. "We can meet then. I'll call you when I get into town."
"Please Jack. Don't forget."
"I won't, Sara. I promise. See you then."
Sara hung up the phone as anticipation and a giddy feeling rushed over her. She tried to convince herself it was because she was finally going to hear all about the Stargate Program, but somehow, she knew better.
Jack even looks good with white hair, Sara thought with a bemused grin. Still as handsome as ever. She stared at him as he sat across from her and wondered if she was going to have to be the one to bring up the subject.
"What?" he asked, bringing her out of her musing.
"Nothing," she said with a shake of her head, then decided what the heck. "Your hair." She reached over to smooth her hand over his head, then said, "I like that color."
"Well, you know," he responded with a grin. "Comes with the job. Occupational hazard and all that."
"Yeah," she said, tactfully deciding not to mention his age. His smile widened, a beautiful smile that always warmed her heart. A smile she hadn't seen in a long time.
They stared at each other for a few moments, until Sara remembered what had brought them together. She sighed when she realized that he was not going to be the one to bring it up. So typical of him.
"You owe me an explanation," she said, realizing at the last minute how bad that sounded. She frowned and looked down for a moment, before saying, "What I mean is…"
"I know what you mean, Sara. And you're right." He grabbed her hand as she looked up at him, hope building up within her. Charlie. The thought popped into her head before she realized it. Shaking away the image in her mind, she smiled at her ex-husband. "I should have explained it to you that day I came to see you," Jack told her quietly. She nodded, unable to speak due to the lump in her throat. He should have done a lot of things.
"Let's see, where should I start?" he said, with a teasing grin. "I was married to this really beautiful woman who put up with a lot from me…" She grinned at that, shaking her head as he continued, "But one day not long after my son's funeral, two guys from Cheyenne Mountain stopped by to tell me that I was no longer retired from the Air Force..."
Sara listened as Jack told her the story of the Stargate, and this time she really listened to him. He glossed over most of the stuff, his version of making a long story short, but Sara took in everything, marveling at the adventures he participated in, wondering at his willingness to keep going back for more, and wishing she had been there to help keep him sane when things got rough.
"That's it in a nutshell," he told her. She nodded, but that wasn't everything, and he knew it. He looked away for a moment, while she stared at his profile. Oh, how she missed him. "That's not why you asked me to come to talk about though, is it?" he finally asked when he turned back to look at her.
"Part of it was." She stared at him for a moment, sadness welling up as she thought about her only son. "Tell me about that man in the hospital. The one who talked about the Stargate. The one who looked so much like you and..."
She turned her attention to the window, past the curtains she had made herself, and out to the trees that blocked her view of the sky. She wiped away a stray tear and thought about her past. There were so many memories in this house, memories that made it hard for her to leave. Memories of a family that didn't exist anymore and probably never would. At least not the same family.
"I should have told you sooner," Jack said, breaking into her thoughts. The back of his fingers brushed up against her cheek and Sara leaned into the caress as she briefly closed her eyes. "I wanted to, Sara. I really did."
She nodded, knowing it to be the truth. "It's not a secret anymore," she said to encourage him to continue.
"No it's not." He grinned at her and said, "Let me tell you another story."
So many stars, Sara thought, as she stared up at the sky. She stood out on her deck, looking up past the trees, wondering if she could see the planets Jack talked about earlier. The thought of people living out among those stars didn’t surprise her anymore, and she had come to terms with the fact that the stranger who looked so much like her son was out there somewhere, living among its own kind.
Jack told her the whole story - that the alien being was not even human. But Sara remembered. Charlie's hand was warm to the touch. Warm and soft, just like human skin. He was real to her, even as she held her doubts. He may not have been her Charlie, but the chance to see him again made all the difference.
The stars sparkled as she watched, while the words Jack spoke echoed in her mind. "The alien showed me what was in my heart. All he really wanted to do was to ease my pain."
Maybe he did, Sara thought, as she pulled the edges of her sweater tight to ward off the chill. Maybe he helped them both.